Waterville Plateau

Bridgeport, Washington

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The rocky outcrops and rolling, snow-covered hills of the Waterville Plateau offer the perfect mix for overwintering raptors and roving flocks of passerines. At an elevation of nearly 2,000 feet, this plateau, bound by the Columbia River in the north and west and mountains to the south, is covered in snow for much of the winter. Exposed to the winter winds and snows, the plateau offers rugged habitat for roving flocks of winter bird species such as Snow Bunting, Horned Lark, Lapland Longspur, and possibly an elusive Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch. These small birds also draw predators to the area—Rough-legged Hawks, Goshawk, Gyrfalcon, and Golden Eagles among them—to feed on the winter bounty that comes each year to graze on the grain and seeds left over from the previous summer. Habitats: Prairie, shrub steppe. Specialty birds: Golden and Bald Eagles; Northern Goshawk; Swainson’s Hawk; Peregrine Falcon; Gyrfalcon; Chukar; Sharp-tailed Grouse; Sandhill Crane; Short-eared Owl; Vaux’s Swift; Cassin’s Vireo; Pygmy Nuthatch; Western Bluebird; Sage Thrasher; Bohemian Waxwing; Sage Sparrow; Gray-Crowned Rosy- Finch; Common Redpoll.

Waterville Plateau Professional Review and Guide

"The rocky outcrops and rolling, snow-covered hills of the Waterville Plateau offer the perfect mix for overwintering raptors and roving flocks of passerines. At an elevation of nearly 2,000 feet, this plateau, bound by the Columbia River in the north and west and mountains to the south, is covered in snow for much of the winter. Exposed to the winter winds and snows, the plateau offers rugged habitat for roving flocks of winter bird species such as Snow Bunting, Horned Lark, Lapland Longspur, and possibly an elusive Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch.

These small birds also draw predators to the area—Rough-legged Hawks, Goshawk, Gyrfalcon, and Golden Eagles among them—to feed on the winter bounty that comes each year to graze on the grain and seeds left over from the previous summer. Habitats: Prairie, shrub steppe. Specialty birds: Golden and Bald Eagles; Northern Goshawk; Swainson’s Hawk; Peregrine Falcon; Gyrfalcon; Chukar; Sharp-tailed Grouse; Sandhill Crane; Short-eared Owl; Vaux’s Swift; Cassin’s Vireo; Pygmy Nuthatch; Western Bluebird; Sage Thrasher; Bohemian Waxwing; Sage Sparrow; Gray-Crowned Rosy- Finch; Common Redpoll."

Activity Type: Birding
Nearby City: Bridgeport
Trail Type: Several options
Best Times: Year-round; best winter
Trailhead Elevation: 1,900 feet
Top Elevation: feet
Driving Directions: Directions to Waterville Plateau

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May 2018